Monday, August 06, 2007

All my world's on stage

Yesterday's mini heat wave (which is what they call it when there are no clouds in front of the sun) is over, so it's been a good opportunity to get cracking with my festival timetable for the next few weeks.

I thought I'd find a nice local cafe to spread out my programs and notebooks so that I could coordinate events from the four festivals. Leith has its own Beanscene cafe, and I'd found the downtown Edinburgh one had acceptable brew and allowed Bondi in on our visit in 2005.

After we'd been there for an hour or so, and I'd gone back for a refill and to order some lunch, the staff told me that they were not allowed to have dogs due to government "health & safety blah blah" which I told them didn't exist (one mumbled "I didn't think it did...") ... so, in the absence of any governmental nanny telling you no, then I assume you still have no objection to the dog you were coddling up to an hour ago??

The staff just paled and hemmed and hahed and said we had to leave. So I guess Beanscene is no longer "all about the neighbourhood, established to provide a laid back alternative to the tidal wave of brash city centre coffee chains that are flooding our High Streets." They've gone brash & corporate in the way of Starbucks et al ... so now Beenscene.

Luckily we found a really nice neighbourhood cafe just up the road who were happy to bring us in out of the rain and spoil us.

After I'd filled out 5pp in my notebook with events from the International, Fringe and Book festivals, I went back to the flat to start booking. I must say that despite all the high-tech sponsors behind these events (Microsoft, HP, IBM) the booking services on the net have been a little dismal:
  • with the Book and Film sites you can't tell if an event or run of events is SOLD OUT until you've tried to put tickets in your basket - it will happily let you look for dates and specify ticket numbers in a deluded attempt to please, and then a big let down at the last moment or "Error L2012 - not enough chairs";
  • I signed up a month before the Film Festival to be notified of the program when it came out - nothing came of that. The 3 major films are now already L2012 - not enough chair'd
  • the Book festival site doesn't seem to have any events attached to any of the authors listed
  • ticketweb won't allow you to have tickets for the Rick Gervais concert sent anywhere but to your credit card address (outside of Edinbugh for many attendees of this international festival)
  • the International site just stopped allowing bookings half way through my order
  • the Fringe site emptied my basket as I was adding event number 12 or 13, so I had to start all over on the phone
  • the book site's booking engine is down for "essential maintenance", which I think means they're putting new batteries in the back of the PDA being used as a server
So far I've managed to book 33 events from the festival agencies:

Main Festival / Fringe / Film / Book

M 6 17:45 Goodbye: The (After) Life of Cook and Moore
--- 20:35 Disney Fringe Fantasia
T 7 22:30 Seriously. Pet Shop Boys. Reinterpreted
W 8 21:45 Eurobeat
T 9 20:00 Euripides The Bacchae / Alan Cumming
F 10 18:15 The Elements of Style
---- 20:30 Dan Clark Unfangled
S 11 20:30 Edmund White
M 13 13:00 Terry Eagleton
---- 20:00 Chamber Orchestra of Europe/ Thomas Adés
---- 23:30 Robin Guthrie: Lumiere
T 14 13:40 Gormenghast
---- 20:00 Monteverdi L'Orfeo / Jordi Savall
W 15 20:00 Alfred Brendel
T 16 12:30 Schumann Kreisleriana
---- 19:00 Kit & The Widow
S 18 11:00 Olli Mustonen
---- 14:00 Ratatouille
---- 19:45 Piano Duo
S 19 18:00 Knocked Up
M 20 19:30 Impressing the Czar / Royal Ballet of Flanders
W 22 13:30 Newley
T 23 12:30 Tchaikovsky Symphony without Orchestra
F 24 11:00 Yuri Bashmet & Oleg Maisenberg
---- 14:00 LYNCH
---- 21:30 Famished
S 26 21:00 Ricky Gervais: Fame!
T 28 19:30 Mabou Mines Dollhouse (Ibsen adaptation)

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